The internet has, once again, been down or slow and I have not been able to write. But I do try. Even now as I write this, it is going on and off and I am hoping that by the time I finish I will have a tiny signal, enough to hit send. I scootered into town yesterday! The road to town is under construction and it could take a very long time before it is repaired. I had to go the long way. Up a big hill and over by the airport. The road into town from that was has one of my favorite views. It is a little valley full of huts and mud houses with thatch and sometimes metal roofs, Boabob trees all in the mix and then the ocean. I stayed hugged on my side of the road, the left. Motorcycles and flatbed trucks rumbled past me as the engine on my little scooter whined as I revved her up to 40km/hr. That was as fast as we've been and we were going down a hill. I can't see out of the side mirrors unless I duck down and lean to the right and even then the mirror is so tiny. I have learned that the helmet will fit if I wear my hair in a bun. The wad of tangled bun takes up the slack and the helmet stays in place. I drove intently to mcel to buy the overpriced internet stick. I proudly parked my scooter in front of the store, removed my helmet and shook out my hair like they do on TV. Far from a Charlie's Angel, I was dripping with sweat, and my tailbone hurt from the very bumpy ride, wearing my college backpack, I limped inside. Surprisingly no one was in there and I walked right up to the counter and got what I needed. I attempted to make the purchase entirely in Portuguese but the guy looked at me, annoyed and asked me to speak in English. I thought I had done quite well. Maybe it is the Southern accent? :) I got the stick and the SIM card which I didn't even think about will have to also be registered which means yet another trip back to town. Here they register your card with your Passport. I am not sure who is keeping up with all of that; who owns cell phones in this country and where they live and how old they are, but I reckon it is important for some reason.
After mcel I drove up to the bakery, then to the store that is supposed to have cheese but they didn't so I bought a candy bar instead. Then I went to find apple cider vinegar but saw boys selling limes and got those and then saw more boys selling tomatoes and cucumbers and even though they were more expensive, I didn't want to go back to the vegetable market so I just bought from them. There is a rhythm and a dance to Pemba shopping. I am horrible at it. I suddenly feel like I am doing 100 things at one time and you have to be creative and think on your feet because the chances of actually finding what you set out to get are slim to none. At home, I peruse the aisles and see what looks good and make a meal from that. You can't really do that here. The options seem limited, random, poor quality, and/or expensive. I am grateful for my daily meal of hot rice and beans here on Base. But I am determined to learn how to do this, to find Feta for cheap and prepare a whole meal with all food groups from my in town purchases.
I scootered back, the long way home, having transitioned to my large army back pack Laura gave me, full of bread, raw vegetables, a can of black beans, melted chocolate bar, milk and my unregistered mcel stick. I nervously avoided the massive potholes or really just chunks of missing road and gave my angels a thrill as trucks narrowly passed by me. I forgot sunscreen on my arms and now I have a little farmer's tan from the excursion.
I then went and scootered through the deep sand out to the beach and met with some of the other missionaries. I ate a pimento cheese sandwich I brought from home. Home. Home? Yep, my little home on the hill of Joy Base. In Pemba. Mozambique. Afreeeka.